New house testing
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  1. #1
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    Mar 2018
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    Lititz, PA
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    New house testing

    My wife and I are buying a new house and obviously one major criterion for us was having a sufficiently functional electrical system. We got a couple of 220v outlets put in, all the 110's on 20amp breakers, a couple subpanels, etc to make it adequate for welders, air compressor, plasma cutter, mill, etc. In a few days we'll be able to inspect it all to make sure it's satisfactory. I'm definitely bringing my buzzbox to burn some rods to test the 220's and mig to run the 110's. Other than doing a bunch of beads, a couple with every outlet, and inspect the panels to make sure the breakers are all correct, what else should I do to make sure everything is going to be good for the long haul?

  2. #2
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    Dec 2011
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    Tampa FL
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    Re: New house testing

    Is the house new or new to you? If an existing house were these changes made by a licensed electrician? Either way are is the wiring up to code and passed inspection?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    CT
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    Re: New house testing

    are you not having a professional inspection done? I would never buy a house without one. just because the outlet welds for you in the short term, that is no indication that it won't catch on fire in the medium or long term. Forget the welder test, get a pro to inspect it.
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  4. #4
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    Mar 2018
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    Lititz, PA
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    Re: New house testing

    Quote Originally Posted by leightrepairs View Post
    Is the house new or new to you? If an existing house were these changes made by a licensed electrician? Either way are is the wiring up to code and passed inspection?
    New house, will be inspected by an inspector, licensed electrician was hired by the contractor who builds houses all over this county. Still, is there a particular reason NOT to run some rods @ 200ish amps to pull current through it and reveal any potential flaws (or will that even matter)? Also, there are a few things with "code" that actually suck, like supposedly requiring GFI's on garage outlets--well, that's absolutely stupid when I need something that will pull the full load to work when necessary.
    Last edited by yellowfin; 06-02-2018 at 08:43 PM.

  5. #5
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    Jun 2018
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    San Francisco Southbay
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    11

    Re: New house testing

    Latest nationl electrical code requires all of 120V receptacles in the garage to be GFCI protected (your state and local jurisdiction may dictate otherwise)

    The GFCI protected receptacles does not care if it has 2amps going through it or 15Amps going through it. As soon as it sees a ground fault it will open the circuit. The circuit breaker will take open if the equipment draws more than the rating of the breaker.

    Remember, you do not need the receptacle to be GFCI type, you can have a GFCI circuit breaker protecting the garage receptacles.

    Also, just because it is inspected does not necessarily mean the electrician has done a good job. Ask the electrical contractor for a workmanship and material warranty the longer the warranty the better. By long I mean more than 5 years of workmanship and material warranty.
    Last edited by Edo; 06-02-2018 at 09:55 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    East Durham, NY
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    90

    Re: New house testing

    Can't hurt do to the "Welder" test. While it won't prove the inspector did it all right, if nothing else it will give an indication that it can handle a load. It won't be an indication of long term reliability/safety, but if it fails the "welder" test, it will point to potential issues that need to be addressed right away.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    133

    Re: New house testing

    Testing doesn't prove nothing.
    A 14 gauge wire connected to a 50 amp breaker would run many welders but if you really started pulling amps for long it would be a problem.
    You need to physically inspect the wire and breaker sizes
    to know anything useful.
    Would not waste your time to do what you recommend.
    Counterproductive actually.
    You need to know what was used not if it is just able to run the thing.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    247

    Re: New house testing

    How good of a welder are you? So how do you know if it's the wiring or you doing it wrong? Do you know exactly how it will work at Max setting or pretty high? Your old house may have 118v legs and the new house has 113v legs and the welder will weld slightly different.

    When you buy a house, do you crank up the electric stove to hell setting for 2 hours? Do you bake a turkey in it? Do you run a load of laundry or Max out the hot water heater, or Max anything else electric?

    This is why there are codes. Especially with electric 99% of everything is inside a little uglys book. Any electric store sells them. If you don't trust licensed people, then get the book and trace out what was done and check to make sure it was done to code and to your requirements.


    A weld test will only test very basic requirements anyways.

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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Western Washington
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    533

    Re: New house testing

    A new house wired to 'residential code' sucks big time for any kind of good electrical service, have been in many a new house around here to do work and finding an outlet that will actually power a small compressor/welder anywhere but right next to the main panel is usually a treasure hunt so called 'residential electricians' only know one thing.... "how small a wire can I use to be good with code" cause it saves money and more importantly it's easier for them to work with.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    Hell I see Sparks
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    3,634

    Re: New house testing

    Quote Originally Posted by yellowfin View Post
    New house, will be inspected by an inspector, licensed electrician was hired by the contractor who builds houses all over this county. Still, is there a particular reason NOT to run some rods @ 200ish amps to pull current through it and reveal any potential flaws (or will that even matter)? Also, there are a few things with "code" that actually suck, like supposedly requiring GFI's on garage outlets--well, that's absolutely stupid when I need something that will pull the full load to work when necessary.
    Use 20 amp GFI's.

    My garage GFI trips when I weld on AC and use a grinder plugged into that GFI but not lately.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    256

    Re: New house testing

    Pull an outlet and switch to make sure they didn't use cheap back stabbed china junk. It's hard to find anything else but good stuff is available but costs a lot more but is worth it in the long run as it is a one time cost... As far as welding test, don't do it alone have someone in main part of house look for lights dimming while you are welding. That gives an indication that wire sizes were not done right.. Check also if lights dim when A/C cycles like I have seen some houses do..

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
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    Mount Tabor VT
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    4,731

    Re: New house testing

    Photographs, lots of them, a few number type questions answered, We'll assess the situation.

    MWShaw summed it up. The builder uses junk, because the buyer doesn't know the difference. The buyer needs the approval of the bank appraiser. The bank appraiser isn't interested in quality. If foreclosed, he wants the bank to recoup its money. He is interested in square feet.

    Where you will plug in anything bigger than a table lamp, you need dedicated circuits.
    An optimist is usually wrong, and when the unexpected happens is unprepared. A pessimist is usually right, when wrong, is delighted, and well prepared.

  13. #13
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    Dec 2013
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    Re: New house testing

    Code says the garage outlets can be supplied from the same 15 amp circuit as the bed room outlets. Code is addressing only the initial purpose a development house is built to do. If Mrs. Smith has enough power to open her garage door, and park in her pristine garage, it is code compliant.

    Those of us who choose to do more in our garages, need to grow a set, and figure that neither Mommy, or the inspector are going to bully the builder into providing for a welder, compressor, or air conditioner. A house built to sell won't have much specialized circuitry. Add your own!
    An optimist is usually wrong, and when the unexpected happens is unprepared. A pessimist is usually right, when wrong, is delighted, and well prepared.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    Arizona
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    Re: New house testing

    Quote Originally Posted by Willie B View Post
    Code says the garage outlets can be supplied from the same 15 amp circuit as the bed room outlets.
    Not any more, as municipalities roll out the 2017 NEC.
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  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    Re: New house testing


    yellowfin


    Running beads to test the circuit - is tantamount to plugging holes in
    a 'brand new boat' = you're screwed . . .

    How big is the main - how far, and how big are your sub-panels?
    Is the main in the shop area - and feeds the house - or visa versa?

    To avoid problems - give 'the shop area' 100 amps. A 100 amp. box
    will carry up to a 100 amp. breaker.

    This will support all of your big tools, including the largest 220/TIG
    welder made. All 120v breakers should be at least 20 amp.

    Building code is to assure a minimum - go large . . .


    Opus

  16. #16
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    Jan 2004
    Location
    Northern Cal., Shasta County
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    8,592

    Re: New house testing

    Small house, big shop.
    "The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life." -Theodore Roosevelt

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Elkhorn, WI
    Posts
    1,678

    Re: New house testing

    I believe the GFCI issue is on attached garages only?
    Detached buildings are on a different Ruling if it is listed as an Accessory building not specifically called out as a Garage?

  18. #18

    Re: New house testing

    Quote Originally Posted by yellowfin View Post
    My wife and I are buying a new house and obviously one major criterion for us was having a sufficiently functional electrical system. We got a couple of 220v outlets put in, all the 110's on 20amp breakers, a couple subpanels, etc to make it adequate for welders, air compressor, plasma cutter, mill, etc. In a few days we'll be able to inspect it all to make sure it's satisfactory. I'm definitely bringing my buzzbox to burn some rods to test the 220's and mig to run the 110's. Other than doing a bunch of beads, a couple with every outlet, and inspect the panels to make sure the breakers are all correct, what else should I do to make sure everything is going to be good for the long haul?
    Most good buzzboxs/tig need a 240 volt 50 amps so breaker does not flip
    I have try using a dryer outlet 240 volt 30 amps but would flip after little bit of welding
    They do 120 volts 20 amp may give the type of weld you want
    If you use mig/flux core , small welding machine a dryer 240 volt 30 amp will work
    If need some one run the wire just use 240 volt 50 amp only add cost is wire

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  19. #19
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
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    133

    Re: New house testing

    Quote Originally Posted by drujinin View Post
    I believe the GFCI issue is on attached garages only?
    Detached buildings are on a different Ruling if it is listed as an Accessory building not specifically called out as a Garage?
    All accessory buildings require GFCI protection on the outlets if the floor is at or below grade level and it is not meant to be a habitable space.

    (1) Bathrooms
    (2) Garages and also accessory buildings that have a floor located at or below grade level not intended as habitable rooms and limited to storage areas and work areas, and areas of similar use.

    Raised floor buildings are not exempt and are considered at grade. Second level above 8 feet maybe not.

  20. #20
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    Dec 2013
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    Mount Tabor VT
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    Re: New house testing

    Quote Originally Posted by danielplace View Post
    All accessory buildings require GFCI protection on the outlets if the floor is at or below grade level and it is not meant to be a habitable space.

    (1) Bathrooms
    (2) Garages and also accessory buildings that have a floor located at or below grade level not intended as habitable rooms and limited to storage areas and work areas, and areas of similar use.

    Raised floor buildings are not exempt and are considered at grade. Second level above 8 feet maybe not.
    Yess. Had to be more than five characters.
    An optimist is usually wrong, and when the unexpected happens is unprepared. A pessimist is usually right, when wrong, is delighted, and well prepared.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    133

    Re: New house testing

    Lots changed lately. Not many shared neutral/multi wire branch circuits.
    All new residential 15-20 amp outlets in the entire house have to have AFCI protection and if in a location that requires GFI protection then it needs both types. Except dedicated outlets supplying over 20 amps. Microwave, dish/disposal and refrigerator need AFCI. Many of the AFCI breakers are designed to snap onto and are fed my two buss bars one for the hot and one for neutral so everyone doesn't need pigtail to neutral busbar. Makes a cleaner install but actually it might be making the breaker twice as likely to fail with two points of attachment and twice the area to heat up. Who knows time will tell but I can see a lot of these things needing to go back to a traditional breaker to be dependable ?? Things like washing machines and refrigerator/freezer type loads sure don't like even 20 amp GFI.

  22. #22
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    Dec 2013
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    Mount Tabor VT
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    Re: New house testing

    In my youth in the 1960s the power company paid for service equipment, and installation. Main Street Danby was one of our projects. Houses that had originally been wired in 1917 were not consuming enough electricity. CVPS figured new services would allow people to install new power consuming loads.

    We replaced some second floor exposed porcelain fuse blocks where 120 volts 30 amps supplied a whole house. These houses had been two 15 amp circuits.

    Other houses were upgraded to Colt No-Arc 60 amp with main fuses, four screw in fuses, a range circuit, and unfused taps to connect a water heater.

    We installed 12 circuit QO by Square D. In most, that left 6 circuits unused. Most houses of that size now have forty circuits. Mine, built in 1980 has 60 circuits in use with 10 empty spaces. Times have changed. Rules have changed. Even if 2017 NEC calls for a 20 amp circuit in the garage, it does not call for any dedicated circuit. Nearly ALL welders will call for a dedicated circuit as a requirement for UL approval.
    An optimist is usually wrong, and when the unexpected happens is unprepared. A pessimist is usually right, when wrong, is delighted, and well prepared.

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